Kālachakra Fitness Retreat: the Flower Ornament, Vajrayoga and Dzogchen Connection

December 12 - December 18, 2022

Robert A.F. Thurman

Michele Loew

Reciting and exploring together the outer, inner, and alternate dimensions of the Kālachakra Tantra in this special study and practice intensive, we will focus on the unexcelled yoga creation stage practice, aiming to refresh our closeness to the Lama-Deity and the great mandala.With Michele Loew leading a number of practice sessions, Padma Shri Acharya Thurman will share some new discoveries from A) fitting together the ten Rātridevī (Night Goddesses) of the Flower Ornament Sutra with the Ten Shakti Goddesses surrounding the Kālachakra-Vishvamātā Buddha-Couple in the central great bliss mandala, enabling us to really get to know them; B) traversing the Vajrayoga bridge between Vajrayana and Hathayoga “spiritual neuroscience,” and C) realizing awareness and deep reverence for the powerful great connection (mahāsaṇdhi) yoga of clearlight immanent perfection.Thurman will shed light on this Tantra’s underlying philosophy and its complex symbolism. Having been preserved for centuries in the fabled kingdom of Shambhala, the Kālachakra Tantra is an Unexcelled Yoga Tantra system of teachings which is believed to originate directly from Shakyamuni Buddha and which revolves around the concept of cycles (chakra) of time (kāla), from the cycles of the planets and the outer world to the cycles of human breathing and our physical-spiritual development.It teaches the practice of working with the most subtle energies within one's mind and body on the path to enlightenment, through famously complex deity yoga which helps practitioners with a basic understanding of emptiness dissolve their ordinary sense of self and re-create themselves in the ideal form of the Kālachakra (Wheel of Time) Deity pair in union, who represent omniscient Buddhahood--the union of great bliss and the wisdom perceiving emptiness. Since Kālachakra is a transfiguration of time itself, and everything manifest seems to be under the influence of time, Kālachakra Buddha is experiential knowledge of all manifest reality, embodying the Buddha’s vow to take all beings with him into the nirvana-samsara-nonduality that is bliss-freedom indivisible communion, in his unwavering experience of all beings’ past suffering and future liberation in his enlightened present moment. Vishvamata, his spiritual and physical partner, is the pure trans-atomic energy of the inconceivable wisdom awareness beyond ordinary time that yet embraces non-dually and compassionately all the living beings’ seeming time-boundedness in order to elicit their original nature of inconceivable liberation. Everyone who attends no doubt is already aware of all of this, so we will use the time to enhance our wisdom, our compassionate kindness, and our faith in the prevailing reality of sheer goodness.Please Note: this retreat is intended for those who have participated in any Kālachakra initiation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama or another qualified lama of any of the orders, or another unexcelled yoga tantra initiation, and thus have taken the requisite layperson, bodhisattva, and tantric vows, and who are interested in deepening their understanding and practice of the Kālachakra Tantra, Vajrayoga, and Dzogchen.To register to attend this retreat virtually via Teachable, please click here...Limited partial scholarships are available for those in need. To apply, please email Michael Burbank at mburbank@menla.org with a brief email detailing your previous study, practice, initiations, etc as well as the amount of financial assistance needed.
ScheduleMonday, December 12
  • 3 – 8 pm  Check-In
  • 6 – 7 pm  Dinner
  • 7:30 pm  Introductory Session
Tuesday, December 13 - Saturday, December 17
  • 6:30 – 8 am  Optional Yoga Asanas or Sadhana Practice
  • 8 – 9 am  Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 11:45 am  Morning Session
  • 12:30 – 1:30 pm Lunch
  • 1:30 – 4 pm  Free time for Spa Services, Relaxation, or wintry forest bathing
  • 1:30 – 3:30 pm  Optional Extra Self-Led Sadhana Practice
  • 4 – 6 pm  Afternoon Session
  • 6 – 7  pm  Dinner
  • 7:30 pm  Evening Session
Sunday, December 18
  • 7 - 11 am Check-out of Rooms
  • 6:30 – 8 am  Optional Yoga or Sadhana Practice
  • 8 – 9 am  Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 11:45 am  Closing Session
  • 12:30 – 1:30 pm  Lunch & Departure
*Please note that the schedule is subject to change at any time.  


Robert A.F. Thurman

Robert Thurman is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University as well as co-founder and President of Tibet House US and it's Menla Retreat & Spa. A world-wide lecturer on Tibetan Buddhism, activist for the plight of the Tibetan people, translator of Buddhis...

Michele Loew

Michele Loew is an international yoga teacher and the founder and director of The Yoga Space in Portland, Oregon.  She is known as a teacher’s teacher and is respected for her 200 Hr. & 500 Hr. Yoga Schools and her ability to combine Western knowledge of the body (anatomy & ph...



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